Most people think that democracy and elections are pretty much the same thing. The truth is that any meaningful push for genuine democracy would require a lot more than just electoral reform. The change of prime minister from Tony Abbott to Malcolm Turnbull shows that a change of leader means very little in terms of actual policy change. And this is not because the policies they push are popular. We need a change of government: not just a change from the Liberals to Labor, but a change from corporate power to people power.
Around eight anti-racist protesters drowned out the media conference of Dutch Islamophobe Geert Wilders outside WA parliament house on October 21. We chanted: "Say it loud, say it clear, racism's not welcome here!" WA police sided with the Wilders brigade at every key point in the demonstration.
3-400 people rallied and marched in Brisbane on October 11 calling for the closure of detention centres at Manus Island and Nauru. One feature of the rally was the involvement of campaigners for freedom of Mojgan - a refugee who was pulled out of her secondary school class in December 2014 and put back in detention. The rally was organised by the Refugee Action Collective.
"Boat turn backs, mandatory detention, offshore processing and indefinite limbo do not save lives." This was the comment made by Refugee Rights Action Network activist Michelle Bui before the 1000-strong #LightTheDark vigil for refugees in Perth on September 7. "You have to understand," she said that "no one puts their child on a boat unless the water is safer than the land."
The Canning byelection is attracting national attention as the possibility that the Liberals may lose the seat they hold by a 12% margin is openly discussed. A loss would be a severe blow to the Coalition government — already reeling from controversies ranging from the Border Farce stunt in Melbourne to the choppergate scandal — as well as to the leadership of Tony Abbott.
Well over 1000 people attended the Bersih 4.0 rally in Perth on August 29. This was more than double the number who attended Bersih 3.0 in Perth in 2012.
The Friends of Palestine WA (FOPWA) led a 50-strong protest of students, activists and Palestinians to boycott the opening of the Israeli Film Festival in Perth on August 20.
Almost 50 people marched from Parliament House to Dumas House (where the state treasury offices are located) to present petitions to treasurer Mike Nahan on August 14. The petitions called for the removal of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) on tampons and other women's sanitary products. Protesters pointed out that products more commonly used by men including condoms and shaving cream are not taxed yet tampons and pads are.
Green Left Weekly is running a special campaign to get the paper out there and involve more people in the distribution. Green Left gets no sponsorship from corporations or government so everything we do is dependent on the volunteers who donate their time writing, producing, fundraising and distributing the paper. Emma Field from Hobart helps campaign with Green Left because she can see the role the paper plays in educating people about the issues we face, such as racism, global warming and equality for LBGTI people.
'Put the bill, pass the bill' was the message as 700 people marched through the streets of Perth in support of marriage equality on August 9. The rally began with a new song by Luke John O'Dell and featured speakers including Joey Cookman from Playgroups with Pride, trans activist Jayne McFadyen and Greens parliamentarian Lynn MacLaren.